A leading U.S. newspaper reports a cell phone found during the raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan contained contacts to a militant group that has “strong ties” to Pakistan’s intelligence agency.
Citing unnamed U.S. officials, The New York Times says the discovery of the phone indicated that the group, Haradat-ul-Mujahideen, was part of bin Laden’s support network within Pakistan.
The report said the cell phone belonged to bin Laden’s “trusted courier” who was killed along with the al-Qaida leader in the May 2 raid by Navy Seals on bin Laden’s compound in the garrison town of Abbottabad.
The New York Times said U.S. analysts have determined that Harakat commanders had called Pakistani intelligence officials, but there was no “smoking gun” ( indisputable evidence)) proving Pakistan’s spy agency had a role in protecting bin Laden.
One U.S. official is quoted as saying the phone was “a serious lead” in determining how bin Laden was able to live for years in a town dominated by the Pakistani military.
On Friday, officials reported that bin Laden’s youngest widow, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah , was expected to leave Pakistan for her native country, Yemen.
Pakistani authorities detained Abdullfattah and two other of the al-Qaida leader’s wives during last month’s U.S. raid. voa